Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gardening Season Is Far From Over

Especially here, where I never did get a handle on the torn up mess in the backyard. (Septic work.) I tried a few things, including a pumpkin patch which thrived for quite awhile. The squirrels tore some of the plants up, but left others. In my front patch, they destroyed most seedlings. But here they left a bunch of plants, which covered the mess pretty well, along with the herbs and tomatoes that popped up here and there.

But now the growing season is over, and the vines need to be pulled out. The real problem, besides the squirrels, is the soil. Being lawn, I never supplemented it, as I did with the garden areas. It is fill, and lots of rocks. What it needs is compost, loads of it and as soon as possible. I removed as many rocks as I could, over the months, but they never, ever stop coming. I set them aside for the finished area. I am now covering the bare spot with newspaper, 4 sheets thick. I put some rocks on them, so they won't blow away. Then chopped up leaves 3 or 4 inches deep.  The weeds and grass seeds will die over the winter, the leaves and newspaper will break down, and I'll have a new garden, lined by plenty of rocks. To help this brand new bed get a jump start to better soil, I also plan to empty most of my containers over the leaves. I just wish I didn't make it so big. I always to that to myself, but as time goes on I've learned that setting it up right in the first place makes it as low maintenance as you're realisticly going to get. Now I need to plan an anti squirrel strategy for next season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Make Holiday Cash Right Now

The holidays are on their way, both the most expensive of times and the most lucrative. The time of year when people want to show their love with "stuff" is an opportunity for anyone who would like to make some quick money right from home.
One way to get started quickly and without cost is to become an Amazon seller and/or associate. You can sign up right on their site, and they are very supportive with tutorials, live chat and just generally getting you started. Unlike eBay, who charge a listing fee, you don't pay Amazon until your item sells. They are an excellent place to sell books and movies, new or used.
If you have some books, say, that you'd like to sell, take some time to look them up on Amazon. See what the price range is,and condition of your competition. Check out the shipping options, remember the item has to be well packed, and weigh all the costs, including your time, when setting the price. 
If you don't have anything to sell, you can sign up as an associate and sell stuff for Amazon, for a small commission. This is good if you have a list, a blog or website, an e mail signature, or other way to market. The benefit is, you are just a middle man. You don't send sold merchandice or collect money. It's worth looking into, but the main thing is to take some action. It is easy to sit and think of ways to make some money, but if you never try anything, you'll never make a dime. Get started in your home based business today, there will never be a better time. 
As always, there is help available, to help you succeed even faster.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Six Low Cost, Low Risk Home Business Plans In One Book

A new book by online entrepreneur Skip McGrath spells out six simple, effective ways to make money from home. Even if you have a job, there is no reason to put all your eggs in one basket. Don't be at the mercy of your boss, or of this economy, have a Plan B in place.Start the new year with a back up source of income with one (or more) of these ideas. The author has been successfully making money online since 1999, and is generous with his knowledge. Nothing says freedom like the ability to drum up some extra money from home, to pay bills, travel, or enjoy the holidays.

The book would also make a great holiday gift, giving the gift of hope for a different future. Change your life, or the life of a loved one, for less than the cost of going out for pizza.

How to Make a Living Working from Home - SIX Home Business Plans

Friday, October 22, 2010

More Money From Home

Even the most minimalist among us has something extra they'd like to sell. Or maybe especially the most minimalist, that's how they keep the belongings down. Clutter creeps up on many of us, it is always satisfying to clear up some space, but very gratifying to make a few bucks doing it.
Sometimes you need new eyes to take a look at your basement or garage, things that seem part of the scenery can be turned into cash quite quickly.Maybe you and a friend can be fresh eyes for each other, and help spot the items that be turned into cash.

The Virtual Peddler: Learn how to make a living buying, selling and trading on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist
This book is a great guide to selling your stuff for the best money, lots of ideas. Give it a try, it could change your life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Quick Cash From Home Idea is a huge help for life in general. Need a canopy for a tail gaiting party? Need a few boxes of Christmas ornaments? Need a short term job, or do you need short term help? I have bought and sold so many things on craigslist, and met many nice people. I've sold stuff that has been cluttering up my basement, garage, life, and gotten paid cash in a matter of days.

There are also things for sale on craigslist, that you can turn around and sell on eBay or Amazon or somewhere. Once you establish an area of interest, things you know something about, do some research on how they sell. Then if you see them available at a good price, online or at a yard sale, you know enough to buy them.

Tools sell very well, books of course, and toys, in good shape. There are many, MANY other niches for you to develop. Look around you, jot down some things you see. Notice how many you see in other places, besides your home and office. People love stuff, so sell it to them!

The longest journey begins with the first step.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quick Cash From Home

If you're looking for a way to make some money, a reasonable amount of time spent resulting in a reasonable sum of cash, eBay may be for you. If nothing else, you can get rid of some clutter and get paid for it. And making some quick money from home can become addictive. Think of what you could do if you had a hobby that resulted in making money for you, rather than costing you money.

The catch is, eBay is not something you can learn overnight. You need some instruction. I highly recommend this (free) newsletter. Skip and Karen McGrath learned eBay by doing it, by buying and selling. This is a good place to start getting aquainted with the eBay culture. You could have money in your bank account by next week!

Subscribe to the Oldest and Largest FREE Newsletter for Professional eBay Sellers

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Way to Make Money

The sun is out today, at least for the most part. The leaves are coming down, and that is good news for me. With a leaf blower and vaccuum, getting those leaves up is quick and easy. Then, all chopped up from the vac, they are the perfect addition to my compost heap or garden. They make an excellent mulch and are useful in helping to protect perennials from the cold. If used as mulch, as they decompose they condition the soil, by far the easiest way to improve it.

But in my neighborhood, most people don't want their leaves. I run a service where I spend 30 t0 45 minutes picking up leaves for them, they pay me and I get to keep the leaves! Win/win, if you have a garden.

Tomorrow, more about eBay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Working From Home in the Rain

Another gloomy wet day here, another day reminding me of why I wanted to work at home, where it is warm, and there is plenty of tea.

There is always a lot to do, when you think about it. I have eBay, and things sitting around waiting to be photographed and listed. There are stacks of books, some for eBay, some for Amazon, some for Cash 4 Books. This last is the easiest, and also of course a little less lucrative than the others. No pain, no gain! On the other hand, you look up the book and find out exactly what they'll pay before you do anything else, so it's a sure thing.

Sell Used Books - Ship Your Books For Free And Get Fast Cash Back!

But if you are like me, and have books accumulating all over, most of which haven't been read in years, it is a win/win.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Time for renewal, in the garden as well as the rest of life. Some plants need to be cut back, some perhaps are done, and need to be removed. Early fall is the perfect time for planting, and many garden centers have big sales at this time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

More About Composting.

I read a terrific list of things that can be added to the compost pile, from a blog I love called You Grow Girl. Included in the expanded mix, cotton balls, paper towels (depending on what was on them), all sorts of paper shredded, (but not glossy ads or inserts, wine corks,) and expired pantry staples such as pasta, rice, spices. Really anything organic, and plant-based, can be recycled into the garden. That also keeps the garbage down, of course.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

e Bay

EBay is quite challenging, even though my friend Linda is very successful at it, and very supportive to me. She suggested a book to me the other day, Three Weeks to eBay Profit. Turned out I had a book by the author, Skip McGrath, already, and thought it was worthwhile .

 So I went to his website, and realized Skip McGrath, was known to me as Harry McGrath. He and Karen and their boys lived next door to me for years.




I ordered it today, stay tuned!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Everything is fresh from yesterday's rain, but it's going to be a steamy one today. It is also my son's 30th birthday, unbelievable but true!

This picture shows Christopher giving Niles his first swimming lesson. It did not go swimmingly. The little guy actually did swim, but he paddled straight to me and asked (beseechingly, with his big brown eyes), to get the hell out of there. Still, no hard feelings!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Looks Like Rain!

Even though it's a Saturday in July, and the day of my son's 30th birthday party, I am thrilled to see gray skies. The plants can use a good soaking, hope they get it. Even groundcovers, like sweet woodruff, and some azalea bushes are brown and sickly looking. The hose can't fix that. Still, I've done my best, and many things survived. Especially the shade plants, caladium, Persian shield, oh here it comes. Beautiful rain.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I thought it was hot in June....

But July has been truly tropical. According to the Weather Channel, it hit 101 degrees in Poughkeepsie last Tuesday and Wednesday. My garden got positively crispy in spots. The grass is straw, which is fine with me.

But tonight felt much better, although it is still 80 at 9:40. I got a lot done this afternoon and evening, weeding, moving plants and containers, a little watering, etc. Things look much better. I can't wait to see it in the morning, and take pictures.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Break from the heat

It has been very, very hot lately, so to sit here this morning in the cool, with the windows open, is a treat. Not for long though, there are many things to do while the weather is so energizing. I didn't do any weeding, dead heading, etc for the last few days, watering was about all I could manage. And then then only when absolutely necessary.
Oh, I did plant some more pumpkin seedlings, as the squirrels through out most of the first batch. I started them in a new spot, in the back, where the yard was all dug up for our septic problem last month. Plenty of room there! The soil, as it used to be a lawn, is more or less just fill. So starting from scratch, I dug a hole for each peat pot I planted, adding some compost, a handfull of dead leaves, and after backfilling I topped each off with some peat moss.
That was how I turned the front into a good garden, bit by bit supplementing the soil with organic stuff. Works like a charm, over time. The leaves, and some vegetable peelings, break down into nice friable soil. Easy to plant, and the plants thrive.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cleaning the Gutters/Compost Harvest

What a miserable task, so I procrastinated, as usual. But really, it didn't take long, and all that mess is actually perfect for the compost heap, as it is half rotted already. I love it when I get a reward for doing what I have to do anyway.

My composting is very simple. I don't use a bin, but keep a pile in a quiet corner of the yard. This is also available from a window, so I can easily add my vegetable peelings, eggshells, tea bags etc, all year long. I add the soil from flower pots at the end of the season, Starbucks is very obliging with free bags of coffee grounds, and all in all I can always get a few shovels full when I need them. It just needs to be turned occasionally.

I usually add some chopped up dead leaves to my containers, too. This has the advantage of filling up space, which conserves potting soil, as well as enriching and conditioning the soil. Try it, easy and effective.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Now

The first zinnia is now blooming, and I found tiny Cypress Vine seedlings in their home around the pool fence. These are signs of true summer, and when I spotted them the other day, I was thrilled. I could hardly wait to tell my friend Leni about them. But that won't happen. She told me she'd be up in the afternoon, I waited to tell her until I could show her. But she never came, and never will again. Rest in peace, my friend.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


So the steady rain of the last few hours has stopped, and the sun is struggling through. Which makes it a good growing day, everything nice and wet, then warmth and sun following.

I'm planting some of my latest hypertufa pots this afternoon, I'm doing a batch for shade. I have Persian Shield, tiny palm trees, this fabulous purple spilling plant (whose name I don't know), and I'm sure I'll find lots of other stuff out there to add. It will be nice to sit on the cool patio under my porch and enjoy a miniature landscape. I have some beach rocks for decoration, can't wait to get started. Pictures next time!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Plants for Shade

My shade containers are finally coming together. Much more low maintenance, as they don't dry out too quickly. With a little planning you can have plenty of color, too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rainy day, time to thin the zinnias

My zinnia seeds are finally popping up, in the garden, and in the whiskey barrels. Of course, even though I tried to space them properly when I planted them, rain and wind and probably squirrels muddled them about. Now they are in clusters, which will fight each other for space. Today will be perfect for gently pulling them out and separating them. The trauma will be eased by the lack of hot sunlight, and the rain. In a few short weeks, they'll have shot up and started to bloom, can't wait.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Me vs. the Squirrels, Part 2

This morning I opened my front door to find an odd sort of debris on the walk, which I realized had come from the gutters. The squirrels must have gone foraging there for seeds and what not. I was briefly tempted to line peanuts up all along the gutters, but the little @#$% have become so bold, I don't want to encourage them to be too near the house. I'd like them to be 200 ft. from the house at all times. At least!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Me vs. the Squirrels

The squirrels are going nuts in the garden (ha ha). They're pulling plants out of pots, digging up seedlings and casting them aside, including the pumpkin seedling from the other day's post. They even dug up my tiny new blue hydrangea, which really got to me. This is a relatively new problem for me, as our old dog, a Rottie mix named Belle, struck terror in their little rodent hearts. But Belle moved on to the Happy Hunting Grounds, where she is probably chasing little squirrel angels. For some reason our current dog, Niles, doesn't have the same affect. Maybe its the clothes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Heat Wave

Its not even Memorial Day yet, and the temperature is in the 90's, even now at 7:30ish. I hope we have a thunderstorm tonight, because I'm too lazy to water. I'm kind of an air conditioning snob, but right now I don't care too much about fresh air, if it would only be cooler in here. The pansies and violas are drying up, and I'm worried about the lobelia and Gerbera daisies, too. I guess perhaps I should log off and water, after all.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The First Pumpkin Seedling

I love starting plants from seed, and this is my second year growing pumpkins. My daughter Sarah has been throwing a pumpkin carving party in October for the last couple of years, and last year I was able to bring 6 or 8 pumpkins. Amazing, what comes from such a tiny start.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


The turtle is back.

I've lived in this house for about 23 years, and just about every May we see a turtle that comes to lay her eggs here in one of my gardens. This results in extra pool duty in mid August, to rescue the babies who fall/crawl into our pool. With vigilence, most can be saved.
I had been in and out of the fenced in area around the pool, so she must have gotten in when I was upstairs. She scared the heck out of poor Niles (my Chihauhau).

Friday, May 14, 2010


My newest project is making pots from Portland, peat moss and perlite, or sometimes sand. They resemble the garden troughs, originally cement boxes used on farms to water the animals.

In the early 20th century, gardeners bought them up cheap as farmers upgraded and automated their farms. Then of course they became valuable collectibles. The problem is, they are very heavy. Hypertufa looks like the original troughs, but is lighter.
My early and very informal market research tells me they are deeply interesting to serious gardeners and small boys.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Garden Sale

Well, the good news is also the bad news. Although I did sell quite a few of my pots, I still have a bunch left. As I hate seeing them leave, (I never trust most others to care for my mini gardens), I'm glad not to be wiped out. When I give them to my family, friends and neighbors, I still keep an eye on them. Works for everyone, especially the plants. But not a good attitude from one who hopes to make money selling container gardens!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 2

A few days later, it is almost breathlessly hot. I got very sunburned yesterday at Family Fest, making it difficult now for me to be outside. I thought it was supposed to be cloudy and stormy today?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Late April

We've had a chilly damp few days, but the sun is out now. It will be a lot more pleasant getting my plants ready for Family Fest this Saturday when it warms up a bit more.

The forget-me-nots are blooming now, true blue flowers are not too common

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Real Life Farmville

So about a month ago, I spontaneously decided to make a change in my life, and spend as much time in my garden as I could. This means I have to find a way to make money out here. So far, things are looking bright. I am going to have a tabletop at Family Fest May 1, at Dutchess Stadium. I'm having a garden sale at my house Mother's Day weekend, and the Stormville flea market will be coming up again Memorial Day. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, I know I'm not the only one who hates to leave my garden this time of year.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring, More or Less

Raining cats and dogs today, also tonight and maybe tomorrow. But at least it isn't snow. The snow has only been gone from my yard a week or so, in spite of warm weather and other rain storms. We had a tree fall, and apparently a glacier formed underneath. But now that it finally melted, there are healthy plants getting ready to explode with warm weather.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love this picture. I took it very early in the morning, walking up the hill from my house in the snow. Up ahead you can see both the full moon, and a stop sign.